So it’s an open secret that I have a lifelong membership to ALL the matrimonial sites in India, and I strategically renew it every year during the ‘sale’ season. Yes, would you believe it, even matrimonial sites have a ‘limited period offer’, and the cheap Bengali that I am, I simply can’t resist taking advantage of this ‘discounted’ opportunity to meet and marry a fellow cheap Bengali!
Earlier I would get resentful and create a fuss every time my mom would ask me to go through xyz profile or meet abc guy. But over the years, I have got used to it and now it almost has an entertainment value to it (yes, my life is THAT empty!)
So, I have this really elaborate profile haunting the matrimonial space with me in a black saree, hair in place and a perfect smile (not too wide) with completely irrelevant details like my birth date/time, caste/sub-caste, rashi/gotra etc. etc. most of which I don’t even understand. Also, my personality is described as ‘modern yet traditional with very strong values’ and apparently I am a teetotaler/occasional drinker. Obviously, my parents know none of this is true, since we have all got high together at multiple times, but my mom was strictly instructed by the ‘consultant’ (yes, matrimonial sites also have consultants) to tailor my profile in a way so that it receives the maximum number of hits, which explains the abundance of certain keywords to ensure high visibility in search results.
A typical ‘alliance’ would start with my mom calling me hesitantly and asking me ‘to check my mail’, an euphemism for ‘there is a guy waiting for you in black and white’. Excited I would immediately do so, only to be disappointed that there IS no new mail. I would call her back and crib, ‘but you promised!’ Puzzled, she would rack her brains and say, ‘check your spam’ and I would wail, ‘see, it’s a case of natural selection. Nature is against me marrying this guy.’
A few days/months later (depending upon my mom’s hectic schedule/availability of ‘eligible’ Bong bachelors on matrimonial sites), she would again call me. This time, there would indeed be a profile sitting pretty in my inbox, mostly as a PDF ATTACHMENT! Yes, it did take me some time to recover from the shock, but now I have learnt to take it in my stride. For the next half an hour I would put all important things on hold and minutely scrutinize my potential husband’s resume, watching out for phrases like ‘engineer’, ‘investment banker’, ‘social drinker’, ‘settled abroad’ all of which scream out, ‘I am adequately qualified to bore you to death’.
Once in a blue moon, I would fail to find any glitch in the profile and agree to share my phone number with a stranger, who would appropriately call me after a gap of 2-3 days and we would politely discuss the weather, our individual job descriptions and career aspirations, moving on to other neutral topics like hobbies, movies (I would NEVER admit that I have watched American Pie a million times and stick to Schindler’s List as my all-time favourite movie) and cricket. After a few calls/chats, we would figure out we are ‘not compatible’, i.e. too ugly/too boring or even worse, decide to meet.
Now this boy-meeting phase is a bit disappointing since I am not at home, which evidently means that I miss out on the filmy bit: i.e. the decking up in a saree, making chai and carrying it till the living room in towering heels, eyes fixated on the floor. Unfortunately even my parents are not so paranoid to insist on flying down every time I am supposed to meet someone and ensure that their only daughter is ‘protected’. So they happily put the ball in my court and ask me to go ahead and meet up casually ON MY OWN. With so much responsibility to live up to the claims in my illustrious profile (i.e. modern yet traditional/pleasant/pretty), I have to be extremely careful to hide MY REAL SELF.
And there it is: the life of the eternal Runaway Bride…